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Mary Sharp College
Established 1851-1896
Type Women's college
Location Winchester, Tennessee, USA

Mary Sharp College (1851-1896), first known as the Tennessee and Alabama Female Institute, was a women's college, located in Winchester, Tennessee. It was named after the abolitionist Mary Sharp. [1]

The college was first chartered in 1850 and was directed by Dr. Z. C. Graves and the Baptist Church. It "was the first women's college in the United States to offer degrees equivalent to those offered at men's colleges." [2] [3] Graves offered a radical curriculum:

Graves patterned the classical curriculum at Mary Sharp College after those offered at Amherst College, Brown University, and the University of Virginia. He emphasized religious and moral training and required every student to attend chapel. Students at Mary Sharp, unlike those at other female colleges and academies, studied algebra, geometry, and trigonometry; Latin and Greek; English literature, grammar, and composition; ancient, English, and American history; philosophy and rhetoric; geography and geology; and botany, chemistry, astronomy, and physiology.[4]

The college awarded its first degrees in 1855. The economic depression of the 1890s led to its closure in 1896.

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